>> so today the white house through its sport behind michael sam, the young man who could become the nfl's first openly gay player. he announced to the world he is gay last night. and messages of support came in from around the world, and they just keep coming today, including from the first lady, michelle obama, and vice president joe biden. sam's announcement comes week before the nfl's scouting combine and the draft in may. michael yves is here. >> it's something that the sports world has been wondering quite some time. who will be the first openly gay player of the nfl. last night we got an inkling when michael sam used an interview with espn to tell the world that he is, indeed, gay.
>> i'm not afraid of who i am. i'm not afraid to tell the world who i am. i'm michael sam. i'm a college graduate. i'm african-american, and i'm guy. >> joining us is michael samuel's publicist, howard, thank you so much for joining us today. as i understand it. you were hand selected by sam and his agent because they wanted to put this announcement out before the nfl draft. hyou've worked with other hee profile cases abou before comin. >> our first concern was that the story would break before we had a chance to tell our story, which is why we did it a little perhaps sooner than some people think we should have, but we knew this had a big potential to break. number two, to tell our story, to tell it well, and then let
michael focus on what he needs to focus on, which is getting ready for the football combine. >> i'm sure you're very familiar with linebacker jonathan vilma on after interview when aired on nfl network. when asked about afghani a gay teammate, this is what he had to say: >> what did michael sam think of jonathan vilma's comments, and is he concerned that would be the case in several locker rooms, and not just vilma and the saints. >> let me just say this:is he we knew that question was coming. michael and the gang all talked it through, and we're prepared. the first thing he said was he
was openly gay in the locker room in missouri, there was no problem. number two, if you've ever been in a division one locker room if you'rafter a game, there's men running around, there's women, pr people, boosters, coaches, it is a workplace. it is opposite of a sexually charged workplace. it is the culture. and. works against gay men are sexual predators. why african-americans and whites could not serve together. blacks and whites were not going to shower together, things like that. to me its just a very naive homophobic remark. by the way, they have been showering with gay men. they may not be open, but that's the reality of the world. firemen, policemen all over this
country are showering with gay men. there has never been a problem. it's a made-up problem. it traces back to naiveté and homophobia. >> a few teammates have come out from the university of missouri saying he's great teammate. gay or straight. >> did you some canvass about this, what have you heard? >> i wanted to hear from guys from the league, what the non- non-p.c. answer was. i spoke with several, two hall of famers, they were real with me. they said, some people aren't going to like it. he's going to play with homophobic players. and they said they've played with racist players. but if he can play, none of that stuff will eventually matter. same with jack "y" robinson, when he broke the barrier to major league baseball, most
teammates didn't want him, but he was good, and it broke the barrier. >> was he a good ball player, will he be drafted in may. and in your view will this baskeimpact his draft position. >> right now he is he's expected to be middle of the road in the nfl draft. he was co-defensive player in the world in the afc, the best baseball conference in the country. the last seven players to be named best defensive player in the afc from drafted in the first round, however, he's going to be changing position. going from defensive line to outside linebacker. >> which is what he's going to do. >> it's a big transition so, there is pause there. >> big, big story today. michael, appreciate it. .
>> are only a handful of openly gay players. jonathan betz will bring in that announcement. >> few have walked the path that he has made. dave kopay came out after he retired. few have come out, but no one have done it while they were still playing in the nfl sport. derek thomas are one of the few active athletes in the world. he is a well-known welsh rugby player. he shocked fans telling fans in 2009. he told 9 "daily mail" that it was really tough hiding who he i
really am. he said that it was tough as a kid. it almost drove him to suicide. he was the first and so far only british pro soccer player that i was gay during his career. that was in 1990. he kept playing. coaches treated him cruelly and fans loathed him, and he eventually killed himself. many players have come out after they left the field. but big sports, english soccer, american football have yet to cheer on a gay player. >> thank you. the announcement came before the move by the federal expansion meaning same-sex
couples cannot be compelled to testify against each other in federal trial. they'll be able to file jointly for bankruptcy and have the same rights as federal inmates in opposite sex marriages and they'll applied all the rules to same-sex couples. four couples filed, seeking to force ohio to recognize same sex marriages on birther is. in december they ordered to recognize gay marriages on death certificates. there is another major snowstorm heading to georgia, and the
>> we are trying to make sure that our resources for treating our roadways have been restocked, and that they're . >> there was a massive gridlock throughout atlanta. people were trapped in their cars. others abandoned them on the highways, and children spent the night at their schools. dave warren is here with a look at what georgia and other states can expect from this storm, dave. >> meteorologist: we're talking about more winter weather. that is the news here. but there is a lot of ice that will be the problem here. a little bit of snow with some ice. these are advisories and warnings, this is the area which will have rain or snow falling in areas below freezing. that's where you get that sleet and freezing rain. the radar shows light snow moving through kentucky and tennessee, but the storm developing here, a lot of this
moisture coming up with the warm air, and that will fall into the cold air. that will continue to intensify. picked up as rain now as it moves through the cold air. there is large area of freezing rain and sleet. it will move through alabama and georgia. here is this rain slow line in the middle where you get the sleet and freezing rain. it will continue to move out tuesday afternoon and evening. watch how they drop down below freezing waking up tomorrow morning with that rain falling into the air which is at or below freezing. that's where you get the sleet and freezing rain right through the rush hour. >> appreciate it. thank you. social media played a huge role getting people help who needed it during the last storm. let's look at what people are saying today. >> reporter: people are planning to stay home. schools are announcing cancellations.
jennifer writes, some people complaining about after school cancellations, darned if they do, darned if they don't. and the georgia national guard are working with the georgia emergency management team ahead of the winter storm. they show these big trucks here and the emergency management team has sent out this image, packing for bad weather. encouraging people to stock up their cars with first aid kid, flashlight, shovel, snacks, and people have been going to the stores, tony, this is the public in atlanta. they said they have been packed all day long. this morning they had to open four registers instead of one at 8:00 a.m. that's on top of the self check outs that you see here. and lauren writes pictures don't do it justice. everybody is freaking out about snowed-out atlanta 2.0.
and. >> snowed out atlanta. at least they're getting ready for this thing. we both know. we've spent time there, it doesn't take much to shut down atlanta. >> yes. >> in geneva, round two of the syria peace talks are under way. the u.n. mediator met separately with the government and opposition. >> it is not acceptable that the regime will send it's own delegation to talk peace while it's killing our people in syria. we ask for the international community to do something about it. >> both sides have agreed to extend the peace fire. hundreds of people have left the city since the evacuations began last friday. earlier i spoke with matthew hollingsworth from the world food program. he is in homes now. >> we managed to get around
like, taste like, and really have been living an unbelievably difficult life. >> matthew, talk about the effort to get aid into the city. we understand that there is still a number of people who for whatever reason have decided not to leave. they want to stay with their homes. talk about the challenge to get them assistance. there are as you know many who just don't want to leave their homes. they don't want to leave their lives because they don't know anything else. there is shell shock in people you talk to .
>> we understand that the cease-fire has been extended for another three days. talk to me about what you hope to accomplish in that time period? >> there are other areas. stalin grad during the second world ward, it's very much like that. there have been bombs a couple of days ago. we need to get into certain areas where people are either too old or frail to make those
journeys to the areas. everybody who has evacuated from homs they'll get food for the family for a month and other items that they'll need to restart their lives elsewhere. >> that is matthew hollingsworther worth, syrian director of the world food. the city has been under fire since the civil war in syri begn syria. >> these are the streets of a city under siege. for weeks bashar al-assad's
forces have dropped barrel bombs on aleppo. they are containers packed with fuel, metal, and explosives. the damage caused by the crude bombs is clear. so, too, is the trauma experienced by the people caught in the conflict. >> i'm 74 years old. i've never seen anything like it in all my life. it's god's will. >> the target of some of the heaviest bombardment by government forces. sunday's attacks are part of a week's long campaign by the syrian army to retake control of the city. parts of the aleppo were seized by rebels in 2012. >> 500 people used to live in this neighborhood. i'm the last one left. they shell us day and night with barrel bombs. >> reporter: forcing two-thirds of residents held in rebel-held areas to flee to government-controlled parts of the region. in all 2 million people have
left aleppo since fighting began three years ago. >> coming up on al jazeera america, the corruption case against the former new orleans mayor goes to the jury. we'll have a full report on closing arguments. and the french president arrives in washington, but will it lead to better relations with the united states? and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america
>> there are new revelations about the tanks involved in last month's chemical spill in west virginia. the head of the chemical safety board testified before congressional hearing today. robert ray is there for us in west virginia. what came out that have hearing? >> quite a bit, tony, good afternoon. new regulations were discussed. new information on the chemical tanks that released the substance into the elk river. no one is saying that everybody is safe in the meeting, and they're hoping to drink the water again without being scared.
a field hearing was held monday morning to explore how the chemical was spilled in the water supply of west virginia. how the aftermath was being handled, and what needs to be done moving forward. >> we were on the front end of the wake-up call for the country. >> reporter: the inspection before the spill revealed that the storage tanks at freedom industries did not meet industry standards. they heard testimony that this entire situation could have been avoided. >> what is the cause of not acting? we have to make laws to really to really address the soldiers of chemicals in tanks will be a small cost. >> not in attendance treatmen fm industries. one member in attendance said
that they had no courage. and it was said there is an odor from freedom industries, and it's not licorice. when asked by federal lawmakers if the water was safe not one person could say the word, instead they had this. >> am i confident in the science. i'm as confident as i can be given what we had. i believe the waterwaysed on the standards we have is useable for every purpose, that includes drinking, bathing and cooking. >> as a water company we don't set the safe standards, but we're in compliance with all the standards set by the health agencies. >> reporter: meanwhile water distribution sites are open, public faith in the water and officials is low. state and federal investigations considercondition, and federal
regulations continue to make sure that a chemical spill like this never happens again anywhere in america. since 2008 the chemical board responded to two other chemical incidents in this particular area. >> thank you. >> on wall street stocks ended up slightly. investors stayed in a holding pattern as they wait to hear from janet yellen in her first appearance before congress as fed chair. joining me from dallas is jared levy, author and partner of the chat wood fund.
before we talk about janet yellen i want to get your read on what is happening right now. what is your read on the state of the economy right now. >> i would say the best way to sum it up, the way the markets are behaving that they are, the viewers tonight want to hear that. it depends on your point of view, if you're comparing current economic climate to 2008, 2009, 2010, we're doing good. we're staying stable. if you compare it to other recoveries, even i in 2002, 2003, 2004, it's slightly anemic. last quarter we saw 11% to 12% year to year growth. from that, tony, we're seeing a lot of cuts. we're seeing job cuts within the industry, and margins are now at their peak which means companies are making as much as they can. they've squeezed all the
productivity they can out of their workers. >> so jared, i have a two-party question for you. so what do you think we will hear from janet yellen from her congressional testimony, and is that different from what you think she should say? >> i respect that chairman bernanke delivered his message, and i think the markets are used to that. he was concise, he was very deliberate. he telegraphed well. i think janet yellen will do her best to continue on that telegraph delivery. i would like to hear what is going on in their heads, but we're not going to hear that. we'll hear a clean version. the economy is growing at a moderate pace. we'll continue with your taper, yada, yada, yada. i don't see any big surprises. >> gotcha. what do you make of the bad
mcdonald's numbers from the u.s. for three straight months. >> they're all over, 40 location40,000locations in the . when i look at brinker and chipotle, they're doing pretty good. mcdonald's is going through an identity crisis. they're trying to compete with starbucks on the could have any end. i would be careful with mcdropped. i think themcdonald's,. >> jared, great to see you. thanks, man. vigilantlies take on a powerful drug cartel in mexico and a plea for help after a
>> here's are a look at our top stories. the nfl could get their first openly gay player. michael sam was defensive back for the university of missouri. parts 69 southeast could get hit again overnight. the governor declared a state of emergency. in syrian preys talks there has been a truss that allows people to leave the city of homs. former new orleans mayor is facing charge of taking bribes.
ben, the jury has the case now. talk us through the closing arguments from earlier. >> it's the beginning of the end, both sides were allotted an hour half to tie a bow on their case both going about an hour each. they showed a bullet point presentation with all the evidence they had summited throughout this two-week trial going over everything with jurors, saying remember this, we showed you this, this is what we proved, connecting the dots. defense attorneys had a different strategy. what they tried to do and reconfirm today is discrediting the prosecutions six star witnesses all of whom would plead guilty or convict on
charges in relation to this case that's what they said they will do all along. of course ray nagin denied having done anything wrong and the jury has the case. no telling how long that will take. they've got a lot to consider. >> and ben, remind us here, nagin was offered a plea deal, wasn't he? >> you know, that's big the wig head scratcher, was he going to make a deal before he got indicted last year. keep in mind six people had been charged. we saw one trial, and so he kind of did have a piece of the playbook from the prosecutor's playbook, and instead he chose to take a big gamble.
a lot of people not sure why, but apparently he would rather see a jury than make a deal with prosecutors. >> ben lemoine for us in new orleans. president obama and french president françois hollande has committed to climate change. today they're visiting the home of thomas jefferson. >> it's often forgotten that the statute to you of liberty is one of a pair, a gift to the americans from france, which helped them win their independence. the old alliance between america and france has had it's ups and downs over the years, but between obama and hollande former ally interests.
are going "o" back again. the war on terror started by the united states is now pursued by france which makes france a key ally. >> he is a very important conduit for obama where the french have federal against in north africa, french speaking west africa, mali, iran where the french never cut relations. >> reporter: they put diplomatic pressure on the syrian opposition to attend peace talks but backed off on the syrian regime. american comedians have referred to the french as cheesy, but
things have changed. when airstrikes against syria were imminent, it was the u.s. not france that got cold feet first. >> reporter: there have been no reports of president hollande's mobile phone being tapped. >> we know tha never got satisfy answers. politics is politics, and they are close to each other and understand each other. >> reporter: so the old alliance between france and the united states is evolving into a new partnership. one based on pragmatism and shared global interests. jackie roland, al jazeera, paris. >> tensions are rising again on
the peninsula. today the u.s. and south korea are going ahead with military exercises, which north korea call exercises of war. >> reporter: for some weeks north korea has been opposing these military exercises, annual exercises carried out between the united states and south korean forces here in south korea. two sets of them. the first known as key resolve computer simulations of various videos involving thousands of troops. the second, fall eagle involving 7500 u.s. troops scheduled to take part in that alone. every year north korea call these acts of water and rehearsals for invasion. this year north korea is linking these exercises to the prospects
of family reunions, reunions of family separated in the fighting at the korean war in 1953. south korea offered to renow those reunions. they've been suspended sinc since 2010. north korea rejecting that offer saying it cannot happen at the same time of these exercises. then it seemed to change its mind and agreed to a date of february 20-25th was agreed to before the north and south. but then the very next day the north coming out with a very strong statement saying dialogue and military exercises could not go on hand in hand. >> al jazeera journalists have been detained and will be part
of a hairing. among the accusations against them, having ties with the muslim brotherhood, which egypt declared a terrorist organization on december 25th. a journalist from our sister channel was detained in july. in bos bosnia, demonstrators have been calling for experts to take over the government in the past several days. this the first unrest since the bosnia war in the 1990's. arrested for breaking a state of emergency law, mass protests are banned after three months of anti-government unrest. today more than a dozen rice farmers rallied, rural workers who are strong supports of
shinawatra. but now they're angry she cannot deliver on a promise of rice subsidies. the so called vigilanties have been fighting the knights templar since the last year. adam raney has more now from mexico city. >> reporter: vigilantys, it's been a year since they rose up. they said they were tired of seeing friends and family extorted, kidnapped and killed by the cartel. this is the economic heart of the farm belt. vigilantys said it was essential to deliberate the city so people could work there again. they promised to see the fight through. >> i know that you are afraid.
but it will turn out good with no more murders, no extortion, no threats, no beatings. without giving the fruit of our work to these bandits. >> in january the federal government sent thousands of police and soldiers into the state to take back control from the cartel and the vigilanties. some were killed in clashes with the military. in the end the government made a choose truce, and now it's directing hundreds of them into a police force. the knights templars are just a front for a cartel. >> with so many armed groups on the loose it's going to be hard for the government to ever fully control this rural and rugged state. >> a flu round of spokens issued in the bridge gate scandal in
new jersey. david shuster joins us for more on that. >> reporter: the investigation grinds on in trenton, new jersey, the state capitol. issuing more subpoenas in the bridge gate investigation. officials say a dozen new orders for documents and letters have been approved targeting chris christie's office and staff. two key figures close to the governor received subpoenas last week but with refusing to comply. police in alexandria, virginia, outside of washington, d.c. have launched a manhunt amidst fierce of a gunman is loose.
the police believe wan older man with a white beard was a shooter who fired repeatedly when the door open. the man is described as balding, beard and wearing a tan jacket. prosecutors have rested their case of a man charged with killing a teen outside of a convenience store after a complaint of loud music. robert dunne said he shot in self defense. the testimony bolstered the that dunne acted with pre premeditatn and it's not clear if dunne will testify in his own defense. police are seeking witnesses to a car crash that killed six people. 21-year-old olivia was driving
drunk and speeding the wrong way on highway 60 when she crashed into two vehicles. five women, two who were 24 years old, and a man were pronounced dead at the scene. their identities have not been released. bliss believe the driver was driving faster than 100 mph. one of the most important documents in the history of democracy has now arrived in houston texas. the magna carta will be on display for six months. the 800-year-old document was originally rented to prevent a civil car in england. some of those freedoms are enshrined in the american government including things like taxes, being tried fairly and timely, and whatnot. making sure that this document arrives safely from england to
texas, it was put in an aluminum steel case and wrapped in special parking. they'll work with light and humidity to make sure that the magna carta to wrinkle. >> thank you, sir. see you back at six. battling it out over the redskins. the team has been under pressure to change its name for years. today they leapt this letter to the commissioner today. what was in that already? >> this is an old twist to a very long running story. it's a new twist to a very long running story. we're talking about the red kins. this is the biggest sporting franchise anywhere near the nation's capitol. it's worth $2 billion. they've had this name for the last 80 years. for the best part of 40 years they have gradually ratcheted
campaigns to change the name. and there are some who feel that the name has a racial slur. now comes this letter from the committee on indian affairs in the senate and if it goes to roger goodellet nfl, and it is pretty stingy: >> that letter comes a week after the super bowl right at the beginning of the offseason.
>> anything from the nfl yet? >> they were the last team in the league to employ an african-american player, and dan snyder, the owner of the redskins said only last year we'll never change, never. you can put that in caps. making you can make a banner headline of that. today the red skin's response came from tony wiley. we have a graphic to illustrate that as well. it said with all the important issues that ther congress has to deal with, war in afghanistan, deficit and healthcare, don't they have more issues to deal with rather than a football team's name? that's the typical arrogant response when it comes to this type of issue. >> you mentioned at the top, this has been hotly debated for a very long time. >> yes, yes. >> is there anything to the timing of this letter now?
>> they know that constant exposure racial epitaphs can have long term significant. >> yes. >> here is a speak peak. >> reporter: they have been man's best friend for centuries. a companion to tens of millions. but how much do we know about dogs? >> hello, sweetie. >> reporter: and how much do they know about us?
>> do dogs have feelings, in your opinion? >> yes. >> reporter: it's the bond, the behavior, and finding out just how smart they might be. >> a whole new field of science is trying to decode the inner lives of dogs. >> our jake ward with new research, theories, and surprising findings that may change the way you look at america's most popular pet. >> you can check out this story tonight during our primetime news hour with john seigenthaler at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. coming up on al jazeera america, sochi, does it have a reputation for great hospitality, right? some serious train something helping to change that imagine. and american bobsledder johnny quinn trapped again in sochi, marie will explain.
>> smile and the world smiles with you, right? that's what olympic organizers in sochi are hoping for. they'll put together worked on hospitality. >> sochi is doing something that doesn't come nationally to russians. she's smiling and she's helpful, supposedly an alien concept here's. >> we have special restaurant with russian food. >> the best of the best. >> reporter: the student is one of hundreds of russian volunteers helping visitors arriving at the airport. it shows that russians aren't what people were expecting.
>> to see how people in russia are kind, very friendly, and very good chance for us. >> reporter: stories of generous russian hospitality can be heard from anyone who spend time here. but russians themselves admit this comes with familiarity. and smiling too much is viewed with suspicion. the russians have a saying, laughter without reason is a sign of stupidity. aware that sochi service industry may need some instruction on what international visitors would expect, in the run up to the games, they put on hospitality courses for hoteliers. ing it must be working. >> i was told hello and when
asked how they're doing they didn't give a laundry list of complaints. >> the experiences that i've had, they're just like folks in oklahoma. warm spirited, love their children, caring, and very friendly. >> reporter: the kind of enthusiasm demanded by the olympic games may never come entirely naturally to russians, but programs that's a goo--perhs that is a good thing. >> johnny quinn found himself in a tough spot once again. we'll look at that, it's playing out on social media. >> reporter: yes, he tweeted out this picture. he punched a hole through this bathroom wall. today he tweeted out this. he said, no one is going to believe this, but we just got stuck in an elevator, and there
he is trying to get out there have. and dave crippse, writes, can johnny quinn usa get us out? they finally got out of that he will rater. another picture trending is ashley wagner. do you remember her facial expression after her event. it's been trending afterwards. it's a raw moment that the camera picked up. she's been a good sport about it. >> is it that, i'm not impressed. >> i can't believe my score is 63.10. this is the coach from finland's snowboarding team. and he was nighing over the weekend on top of the mountain knighknitting a starve. this is something that the team will add on knitting.
nora is the goalie for finland's hockey team. what do i do the might before the hockey game? there you go. they're going to give it to the summer olympic team to take to rio de janeiro. now what do you do with a scarf in rio de janeiro, i have no idea. >> hello. >> yes. >> there it is, you know, we've been telling you about the storm system heading to areas of the south again. including georgia where the governor has declared a state of emergency for counties and warning folks to be cautious and to stay off the roads. >> meteorologist: watch the radar alcoholly. this is warmer air coming in over the cold air. you have that snow that melts and that air that is freezing. that will be the big problem, and it's all taking shape over the next few hours.
here comes the rain. this is the forecast. this shows where the rain was initially, then you get into these different colors. this is attuned night tonigh att tonight, and the first wave of moisture will move into south carolina tomorrow evening. you'll get rain falling into that cold air. >> we'll have a look at headlines coming up on al jazeera america.